David Gergen: ‘First time I’ve seen a president come to a G-20 in which he’s no longer regarded as the leader’


CNN’s David Gergen appears confused about his feelings on President Trump.

Following Trump’s attendance Friday at the G20 Summit in Germany and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Gergen first praised him as “presidential” but later criticized him because he was “no longer regarded as the world leader.”

The former White House adviser and CNN’s Senior Political Analyst told Brooke Baldwin that “this could have been one of the most productive, promising meetings President Trump has held since he took office.”

“The bigger takeaway here for me right now is… he seemed presidential today. And we actually had a Secretary of State who was explaining stuff to us. How often have we had that?” Gergen said. “This seemed like we were back to normal life for the first time––one of the only times in the last few months. This is what we expect from our president. We may agree or disagree with the particulars, but we want our president to show leadership and be at a presidential level, and I thought we saw more of that today, and I think we should be encouraged by that.”

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“This is presidential,” added Gergen, who has served in the White House administrations of former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton.  “This was big-league stuff.”

But, in another appearance on CNN Friday, Gergen seemed to hedge on his earlier assessment of Trump.

“This is the first time I’ve seen a President come to a G-20 meeting in which he’s no longer regarded as the leader, no longer regarded as the world leader,”Gergen told John Berman. “That is troubling.”

Gergen did, however, have some praise for Trump’s performance in the more than two-hour meeting with Putin, saying the president “didn’t crumble in front of Putin.”

“Putin didn’t bully him into a corner and there were no apparent shouts or anything like that,” he continued, apparently admitting the low bar he had said for Trump. “When the president does something better than expected, we should say so.”

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